Drawn to the Light

Drawn to the Light

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Neil Carpathios is the author of six poetry collections, including The Door on Every Tear(2020), Far Out Factoids(2017), Confessions of a Captured Angel (2016), and Beyond the Bones (2009). His many chapbooks include The Function of Sadness, winner of the Slipstream Press Award (2015), and God’s Experiment, winner of The Ledge Press Award (2000). He is currently Writer-in-Residence at Malone University in Canton, Ohio.

The Moths

From WTP Vol. IX #9

“Artificial light seems to cause behavioral disorientation. However, despite various theories, the ultimate reason moths are attracted remains unknown.”

  —Kenneth D. Frank from “Impact of Outdoor Lighting on Moths: An Assessment”

Let us pray for them
as they orbit the glowing bulb

then batter themselves trying
to get inside to touch wiry filaments

which might transform them,
make them vivid,

the source of light god-like,
but their skulls pop and wings

turn to powder reminding me
of religious fervor. 

But they keep coming, charging
over and over, suicidal.

I could flick off the switch,
spare them for a while,

let darkness cradle them,
let cool air cushion them,

let stars perhaps invite wonder
at being a live brief witness

on this earth, but the full moon’s
spotlight would reawaken 

their desperate, despondent, manic
desire. They’d find some other

person’s porch where the luminous
head of God takes pity,

beckons with a promise of perfection
if a thing is willing to sacrifice everything.

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